March 2014 was a turbulent month for the Whole Foods GMO labeling controversy. At first, Whole Foods appeared to be making progress on GMO labeling and transparency. Only days later, however, the natural foods giant looked to be caving in to the pressures and demands of GMO companies. What next?
In an effort to clarify the debate and cool down the controversy, Whole Foods Executive Joe Rogoff published an opinion column in the Capital Press, elucidating the market’s stance on GMO labeling. In the essay, Rogoff explains that in the absence of national GMO labeling standards, Whole Foods is instead taking the opposite approach: labeling all NON-GMO products.
Apparently, because there are no laws (yet!) requiring that products containing GMOs are labeled as such, Whole Foods will work with suppliers to clearly label all non-GMO food, instead. Once such labels are in place, then if consumers cannot find a non-GMO label on a certain Whole Foods product, they’ll be left to assume that it does, in fact, contain genetically modified ingredients.
Wait, what? Is that just us, or is this super confusing? Can’t we just label GMOs in the United States, already? It’s about time we caught up with the standards of 64 other countries and counting, including the European Union, Japan, China, Brazil, New Zealand, and even Russia.
“This is simple—consumers want to make food choices based on clear information on how their food was produced,” Rogoff writes. “Let’s tell them the easiest way possible: on the labels of their food.”
We agree with you about the labeling, Jeff, but let’s work on a way to make this even more simple. Perhaps through federal regulations and guidelines? Just a thought…